I used to decline anything sweet after a meal, claiming that my wine was my dessert. But that was before I began taking an antidepressant to curb my anxiety – it was also before I decided to cork my evening nightcap habit.
These days, I’m a lot calmer, happier and sober, but not exactly lighter on my feet… Catch my drift?
After polishing off three plates of shepherd’s pie during the recent snow “stormageddon,” I felt an insatiable craving for something sweet. I scoured the back of the cupboards, hoping to find some stale Girl Guide cookies, but there was nothing but soup, canned beans and broken saltines.
Fortunately, I remembered that we still had an enormous bowl of Halloween candy stashed above the fridge, so I settled on a couple of mini chocolate bars and a bag of M&M’s.
While I was able to satisfy my sweet tooth, the hunger pangs just wouldn’t let up. They were relentless.
My stomach rumbled with uncomfortable emptiness, begging me to toss in a bag of Doritos and wash it all down with Chardonnay.
I convinced myself the number on the scale was just all the water weight, but I’m beginning to realize I can’t give in to every craving as a reward for taking a break from the “mommy juice.”
As the self-dubbed Queen of Extremes, I’ve been weary about jumping headfirst into a strict diet or exercise regimen. It doesn’t take much to lose my head in the pursuit of losing the girth.
After doing some digging, I’ve discovered I’m not alone with this problem of medication-induced weight gain.
Experts say that for up to 25 per cent of people, medication for depression can cause a weight gain of 10 pounds or more. I’m up seven pounds and counting.
It’s also common to crave sugar when you take a break from drinking.
Now, I’m not airing this to deter anyone from taking a pill to manage their depression and/or anxiety.
For myself, the weight gain is more of a minor nuisance. I’m far happier now than I was last February rocking a bikini body, despite the fact that sweatpants are literally all that fit me right now.
As I struggled to zip up my jeans one morning, I joked to my husband Jason that I should go off of the meds so that I can get my “old body back.
He said he’d rather have me with some more junk in the trunk and be happy instead of skinny and struggling any day.
If I’ve learned anything through this experience, it’s that happiness isn’t found in the bottom of a wine glass, candy bowl, or even in an itty-bitty bikini.
Instead, it’s about learning how to sit with that unsettling void and find healthy ways to nourish one’s soul, rather than starve, feed or numb it.
I think that if I had learned this lesson early on, I wouldn’t have spent years trying to run from ugly feelings, which would later come back to haunt me.
Let’s face it – children are prone to copying the behaviour of their parents, which is why I’m even more determined to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Is it going to be easy? Heck no, but nothing worth fighting for truly ever is.
Kristyl Clark is founder of the family blogazine, ValleyMom.ca. Follow her on Twitter: @shesavalleymom